Coffee Break with Adele Woods
26th July 2021
Take a break and get to know Registered Occupational Therapist, Adele Woods.
Q.1 – What do you do and why do you do it?
I am an Occupational Therapist (OT) working in the Regional Acquired Brain Injury Unit (RABIU) in Musgrave Park Hospital. I have worked in RABIU treating inpatients and outpatients with acquired brain injury for the last 13 years. I assess and treat clients whose brain injury has affected their ability to be independent in their daily tasks (personal care, domestic tasks, work and leisure) and aim to promote independence and quality of life.
I am very passionate about what I do, when I first read the description of what OT is I knew it was for me. I love that we can make a difference to someone’s daily life by allowing them to regain some independence.
Q.2 – How do patients benefit from what you do?
All patients in RABIU will benefit from having OT input and this can be from the simplest of things to more complex input. For example teaching someone to put on their clothes using one hand if they have lost the power of one arm after brain injury, which means they don’t need family or carer to help. Or more complex input such as assessing for and providing a complex specialised wheelchair which allows someone to be safely and comfortably seated out of bed, well positioned for interacting with family, safe position to eat and drink or even just to be taken outside for fresh air. Our input is about maximising independence and quality of life.
Q.3 – Tell us about a typical day at work?
My day usually goes very fast and day to day and hour to hour can really vary which reflects the wide remit of the role of OT. I am usually assisting a client to get washed and dressed in the morning and teaching them ways to do this more independently and perhaps letting them make breakfast whilst regaining balance, confidence and ability to think through tasks correctly again. I may then be completing some memory assessments, taking a client to the local shop and assess road safety, I may be assessing someone for a complex wheelchair or making a splint for someone’s hand to maintain position for function. I may also be assessing a person who has had a very severe brain injury and has little or no awareness of themselves or their environment (Disorder of Consciousness) to assess for any response to stimulation around them. I will also be working extremely closely with all my colleagues in the unit (nurses/Consultants/social workers) who work so well together every day to make RABIU the amazing unit that it is and work so hard to achieve the best outcome for all our patients.
Q.4. – If one of your patients was sitting with you right now what is the best piece of advice you could give them?
I would tell them to try and look for the positives in their situation, look at what they still can do and OTs can usually help them to find a solution for many of their difficulties with some creative thinking. I would encourage them to engage fully in therapy.
Q.5. – Tell us about the satisfaction you get from your job?
I love my job in RABIU and although yes it can be challenging at times it is also very rewarding and I’m happy to say I get great satisfaction from my job. I love to see patients progress and even for those who may not progress with us I know I can make a difference to their positioning and comfort which often helps families a great deal. I love that everyday can be a school day in that I can still learn something new and be challenged. I also love the teaching element in my job where I can train newer staff and also advise staff regionally when needed on how best to assess and treat clients with complex brain injury. I’m definitely an advocate for OT and would encourage any young people unsure of their career path to consider OT. As my careers teacher once advised me – “if it’s going to be it’s up to me”
Q.6. –Tell us a little about your life outside of work?
I am a mum of two and outside of work I like to spend quality time with my kids. Working indoors all week I like to get outside when I can for walks or do some yoga and really relax. I love eating out and I love a walk along the beach. Working in our unit really shows you life can change in an instant and helps keeps things in perspective and keep us grateful for being able to do the simplest everyday things by ourselves.